Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … May 7th, 2016

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Dear Man Dear Woman

 

Dear Woman: Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Dear Man: Well I’m not a mother…

 

Dear Woman: I know. But maybe someday you will be. I think ahead.

 

Dear Man: I suppose.

 

Dear Woman: You seem miffed. Does Mother’s Day bother you?

 

Dear Man: Yeah, but not for the reason you think. I’m not jealous because I don’t have children. Mother’s Day is just an example of another title…without entitlement. What I mean is that men hide their chauvinism and their dislike for women behind granting them certain space while forbidding them total equality. If you’re a woman you can be a mother. You can be in charge of the women’s ministry at the church. You make a great secretary. How about fund-raising? Can you take care of the food bank? “You’re so pretty.” All of these are titles but they fail to grant the entitlement of being treated as an equal and dealt with in justice.

 

Dear Woman: Wow. Am I ever sorry I said “Happy Mother’s Day.” But just to play devil’s advocate, is it possible that some of these stereotypes–titles, as you call them–exist because there’s truth to them?

 

Dear Man: Do you really want to start a fight?

 

Dear Woman: No. As I said, I’m playing devil’s advocate.

 

Dear Man: No. It’s the loaf of bread syndrome. Once we realize there’s one loaf of bread, we start thinking about how we can get the whole loaf instead of giving a needful half to someone else. To do this we have to rationalize and make sure it seems like we’re not being selfish, just practical. Men and women share so much in common that it’s ridiculous to separate them using the jargon of ignorance and the culture of male supremacy. So we pretend. We pretend women are smarter, even as we refuse to promote them. We pretend women are more thrifty, but we never make her the Secretary of Treasury. And of course, we insist that women are better with the children so men have a way of playing with the kids when they want to, and walking away when something else diverts their attention.

 

Dear Woman: I see your point. But are there enough differences that some sort of division of duties is warranted?

 

Dear Man: Let me give you an example. You’re a Christian, right?

 

Dear Woman: Yes. Right. What’s that got to do with anything?

 

Dear Man: Relax. I wasn’t trying to throw you to the lions. There’s a story about Jesus which is not talked about very often, because it separates him from all other philosophers, religious leaders and cultural icons of all time. Sitting at the house of Mary and Martha, two of his friends and the sisters of Lazarus, who rose from the dead, Martha interrupts Jesus’ teaching to complain about her sister, Mary. Martha’s complaint seemed very legitimate to her–and probably to most people in the room. Mary was sitting in, listening to Jesus teach instead of helping put the food together, which would be served after the lesson. First of all, realize that it was against Jewish law for men and women to be taught together. So Jesus was already making a statement, which he did throughout his ministry. Men and women traveled Co-ed–same space, same responsibilities. So when Martha brings up Mary helping her in the kitchen, there was no disciple who thought Martha was wrong. After all, Mary was a woman. She was supposed to be involved in the kitchen, the children, the day-to-day household activities and the general welfare of the home. Martha thought she was on safe ground. Damn, she thought she was quoting the Word of God. But Jesus rebuffs her. He tells Martha that she worries about too many things, and that Mary had picked the better part by sitting and listening to the teaching. So you see, this story contradicts the practices, doctrines and limitations that most Christian denominations place on women. That’s why you don’t hear it taught very often. But the truth is, after they got done with the teaching, the men and the women could have gone into the kitchen, put together the snacks, and had great fun doing it. Here’s a powerful thought–if you don’t break stupidity you never find wisdom. So I think it’s ridiculous to think that only women are mothers. Every man has to mother children, too. If a little boy falls down and skins his knee, the dad doesn’t wait for the wife to get home to take care of it. If he’s a good parent, he suddenly becomes the healer–the mother.

 

Dear Woman: That’s amazing. Why don’t they talk about that more?

 

Dear Man: Because they would have to give women their entitlement instead of just a title.

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Ask Jonathots … March 31st, 2016

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My fiance was raised as a Catholic and I grew up Presbyterian. We plan to compromise after we’re married by going either to a Lutheran or Episcopal. But I don’t really like the solution. Neither one of us think the denomination makes any difference, but it did get me thinking. What do you think about this dilemma–especially since we want children?

I have always been of the contention that what you believe is much more important than where, when or even how you believe.

I think the problem with a compromise in spirituality is the notion that all outlets for the Christian message actually offer the heart, soul and mind of Jesus of Nazareth. They really don’t.

In the pursuit of finding the climate that suits a congregation, a church often has to place the more intense convictions of the faith on the back burner. It’s not a malicious act, but it is a purposeful one.

So I think it’s possible to visit every denomination for one Sunday or a couple of Sabbaths, introduce your own belief system into their atmosphere, and have an absolutely delightful time. But after a while, they will desire that you acquiesce to their cultural preferences instead of sharing your more basic beliefs.

So I think the decision of whether you go to an Episcopalian, Lutheran, Catholic or Presbyterian because you think they all believe in the same God is errant. What you want is to go to a church that understands the important values you treasure and leave there with a soul-satisfying experience.

I think many people think of going to church like they got a DUI and now have to do community service. They find it to be a duty, responsibility and now a sentence–to atone for a sinful nature.

I, for one, do not believe that such attendance to a religious service does us much good unless we actually find a way to become emotionally involved.

So my suggestion? The two of you should sit and write down the five things you agree upon, spiritually and emotionally, and then find a church of any denomination that agrees with most of them and grants you the conducive surroundings.

The sooner we understand that church is not about the delivery system of the worship service, but rather, the message and how it impacts our lives and touches our hearts, the better off we will be–and the less likely we will be to leave the institution because we find that Sunday morning family time is much more fulfilling.

 

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Jesonian: Picky and Goofy … March 23, 2014

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camel“It’s important.”

I hear it all the time.

People have gone off into their own soul, deciding for themselves what they have determined to be of value in life.

Sometimes it’s religious, other times political and often it’s business.

My job? Listen, learn, observe–or face their wrath.

Here’s my problem with the “important” crowd: it’s not open for discussion.

Matter of fact, they become very picky. They not only want you to know it’s important, they take you to step two, which is: we need to do it.

Now it’s not only important, but we need to do it–and the we demands me.

Step 3: “If we don’t do it, we’ll be in trouble.”

At this point, any objection I might lodge would be anti-God, anti-American, anti-human and anti-reasonable. And of course, unfortunately, this lends itself to a fourth conclusion: “Don’t listen to anything else.”

Thus, 350 different Christian denominations in America.

Everybody has gotten picky, decided that we all need to do it, and if we don’t we’ll be in trouble–and by the way, if you’re smart, don’t listen to anybody else.

So here’s my assertion–I believe that “picky” leads to “goofy.”

Once you choose a lifestyle of being certain about everything, you start getting goofy about enforcement.  For instance:

How much flax is my your cereal?

Ridiculous discussions in church board meetings about whether communion wine could be white, or must be red?

Committee meetings in Washington, D.C. arguing over a point of parliamentary procedure (after fighting a war rebelling against Parliament…)

Picky leads to goofy.

Once folks get picky over little things, they often become goofy over the big things that are really important.

Offering a solution–may I call it a Jesonian one?

  1. It could be important–I’m not sure, but let’s chat.
  2. Let’s ask ourselves–what happens if we apply this? Do we learn, grow or go backwards?
  3. And what will is the progress? Are we afraid of evolution? Is it against our religion–literally?
  4. And finally, what is the next revelation? Because if we just discovered one important thing, what makes us think it’s the last one? There’s another one coming. Are you ready? Do you have some room in your brain? Can you open up your soul for it?

Picky people eventually become goofy and then they become more annoying than valuable.

So stop straining at the gnat and swallowing the camel.

It makes you look like you’re trying to be God instead of on a quest to find Him.

 

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Heaven’s Gates(ville) … January 26, 2014

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cring and clazzy billboardThe words are quite stunning.

Though if you stop and think about it, it not only makes sense, but sets in motion a way of thinking, a passage of human heart and a philosophy of life which challenges us to excellence, while providing a plain path.

“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Although this phrase is contained in the famous Lord’s Prayer, and often receives no more notice than other lines within the structure, it really is the heart and essence of the mind of Jesus.

Think about it. What is my job?

To find out what heaven is going to be like and do my best every day to construct a prototype in the life provided around me. In so doing, I achieve two goals:

  • Confirm that I actually believe in something instead of mouthing words.
  • Bring a little heaven down to earth.

Where it gets complicated is in trying to summarize heaven to a few ideas instead of getting all caught up in “streets of gold, gates of pearl” and ten thousand years of praise and worship.

I made an attempt. And since I’m in Gatesville, Texas, this weekend, I thought I would share with them the three aspects of heaven I feel are transferrable to earth:

1. God.

I don’t think I want a heaven without God. Gee whiz–I think I could get universal agreement on that. The problem is, God has a speckled reputation. Some people think He’s mean, some would portray him as the hall monitor of morality, and others find him ethereal–floating in the clouds. But after all that gets done, the most universal thing I find about God, and certainly played out through his son, Jesus, is that God is love. Any attempt to portray Him with different light is a dilution of His power.

So if heaven exists with a God of love, it is my mission on earth to bring that love–to myself first and then to others.

2. Unity.

I have good news. There will be no political parties in heaven. No denominations. No races. No religions. All that will survive in the place of Supreme Reward are those who have faith and mercy.

No race. No religion. No politics in heaven.

So it stands to reason that if I want to make a little piece of heaven on earth, I should replicate that in my interactions with my brothers and sisters. I have found a quick way of phrasing that phenomenon. I tell everyone I meet that “NoOne is better than anyone else.” Yes, I bring a bit of eternal life every time I eliminate the differences between people and replace them with similarities.

3. Joy.

Since God will dry all our tears in heaven, it is safe to believe that the greatest gift of eternal life is joy. So I believe it will be the mission in my life–however long I am allowed to stomp about–to teach happiness, live happiness, share happiness and be happiness.

Yes. “Be of good cheer.”

Verily, verily I say unto you, sadness and worry do nothing to aid our dilemmas–just start the misery early.

So I believe heaven will be a place with God, unity and joy.

This morning, in Gatesville, Texas, I will tell people that God is love, and any other representation is afoul.

I will insist they understand that “NoOne is better than anyone else.” To build little boxes for people is the busy project of the devil’s workshop.

And I will certainly espouse joy and tell the dear folk to “be of good cheer.”

It is not of much value to bring earthly fear to earthly creatures who are basically a little lower than the angels and a bit higher than the monkeys.

Bringing heaven is allowing the God of love to unify us in good cheer.

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The NoOne Caper … September 24, 2012

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I had a dream.

It was in late October, 2011. As far as I know, I wasn’t thinking about anything particularly philosophical or even considering what I might be sharing in the coming year, 2012. But I had a vivid vision, filled with emotion, anxiety, joy and energy, about conveying a specific mission in that coming year. It was a typical dream in the sense that the images had significance in the moment and were difficult to explain later, when sleep had disappeared.

But there is one thing that came out of the experience that is as clear as a bell–it was six words. They were to become my central theme as I journeyed across the country in 2012: NoOne is better than anyone else.

Two immediate problems presented themselves.

First, Janet pointed out to me that “no one” was not a compound word, and that it should be dubbed the Seven Word Tour. I normally try not to be stubborn, but I really felt impressed from my nighttime visitation, that the theme was to be six words. So we went on the Internet, checked with grammar sources, and found what one often does when seeking an answer concerning the English language–it could be this, it could be that. Some sources said that “no one” was two separate words. Others insisted it was a normal compound word, separated because it was thought that the two o’s placed together looked rather odd. (Honestly, that’s why I like it. Two o’s look like a pair of eyeballs staring at you, checking out your reaction.) So even though I have great respect for English grammar, I decided that since I was given license, I would pursue my own path. (However, even though I validated the choice, I still occasionally have folks come up to me, thinking they are clever by pointing out that it’s really seven words. I just smile.)

The second problem was a little bit more deeply ingrained within our culture. After all, we live in a society that holds conventions in which discussions ensue on how important it is to not mistreat cows while simultaneously serving fillet mignon at the banquet. In other words, some notions have become high-sounding ideals instead of practical pursuits. Unfortunately, that’s kind of what has happened with “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We have basically decided that this principle is completely implausible, and even though we allow it to be spoken in public, everyone quietly retreats from its purity because of its difficulty and seemingly inhuman feasibility.

So I knew when I stood in front of an audience and said, “NoOne is better than anyone else,” I would receive mixed reviews–at best a nod of assent followed by a quiet grunt of disapproval.

But I came to the conclusion that everything evil that has ever happened in our world was forged in the fires of supremacy. When we believe that we are to live our lives by the rules of the jungle, using domination as the settling ground for all conflict, we are admitting that possessing a larger brain and an eternal spirit is useless to us.

This is not the surrender that we should accept without a fight. Let me repeat it: everything born of darkness in the human experience begins with the notion that “i am better than you.”

  • Six million skeleton, slain, Jewish innocents were thrown into mass graves because one man was able to propel a message of the supremacy of his supposed Super Race.
  • Over three hundred denominations of churches met yesterday in America, not simply because they favor one style of worship over another, but because at some point, doctrinally, the forefathers of their faith believed they had found a more enlightened path which made them better than their brothers and sisters.
  • The Republican Party believes it is better than the Democrat Party.
  • The Democrats believe they are better–more high-minded–than the Republicans.
  • A white man, even though enlightened by his experience and journey, will still sprout nervous energy when in the presence of a black man–not quite sure how to carry on a conversation because the whole climate of his world has screamed his preeminence over his darker-skinned brother.

This pervasive philosophy not only creates an impasse, but an obstinate, disguised anger that pouts in the corner, refusing to participate in détente.

When I looked at those six words–NoOne is better than anyone else–I realized I was headed for an experience rife with blessing and froth with controversy. So if you will allow me, over the next several days I will give you the ten objections I have received to my dream message from October 2011–NoOne is better than anyone else.

These assertions tickled me but also gave me pause to find the reasoning, both spiritually and intellectually, to prop up this valuable axiom.

So tomorrow I will start with what I call The California Consideration–the two objections presented to me while I was in the Golden State. I hope you will come along. It will be great fun, and like all good things that are entertaining, will certainly have its moments of inspiration.

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Alone, Without Faith, Works… April 12, 2012

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Atheists and agnostics often make the mistake of assuming that all believers in God are closeted bigots with a third-grade-McGuffie-Reader understanding of the world. Likewise, those ardent followers of the Almighty often think that atheists and agnostics are bitter old men and women on the verge of mental and spiritual collapse, brought on by their great lacking and soulful malnutrition.

Of course, both sides are quite wrong.

Many believers in the Divine One are intelligent, fruitful, scientific, inventive and creative entities. Also, many of those who choose not to consecrate themselves towards any kind of conviction about God’s existence are loving, gentle, compassionate and joyful creatures.

The reason that both camps can function without giving much awareness or allegiance to the other is that they do have one-half of a truth, which gives them one-half capacity. The problem is, both believers in God and atheists and agnostics, for some reason or another, think they are in a custody battle and have decided to side with either their mom or their dad. The ones who believe in God are Daddy’s boys and girls and usually have very little respect for Mother Earth. And the ones who have turned their backs on the paternal part of their parentage are quite fond of Mother Earth, while ignoring dear old Dad.

This is why our planet basically runs half-full, with no one ever tapping all the resources available.

I live in a happy home. My Father is in heaven and He created me. He did not desert me upon my birth, but is very interested in my life, gives me great wisdom and is prepared to defend me against my own foolishness and the ridiculous notions of others. I am also a “Mama’s boy” in the sense that I understand that the earth is part of the great family that my Father in heaven intended, and the more I understand about this earth the better my relationship will be with others, myself and Him.

Most religious people have turned the earth over to a creature they refer to as “Satan” or “the devil.” Yes, Christians have a tendency to think that God is in heaven and “will make everything all right someday,” but that the earth is at the mercy, temperament and judgement of the Evil One. Now, I understand that belief in this idea is contingent on denominations and doctrines. But there is still a great upheaval in the religious community which causes us to believe that the earth is “against us” and only God is able to protect us from her fury.

On the other hand, those who worship Mother Earth and want to live with Mama instead of Papa insist that they do not need a Daddy. Mother Earth is sufficient to provide joy, peace and understanding. And because they do live in this plane of existence, they often prosper as much or more than those who are waiting for a heavenly reward.

Enter Jesus. He is the first to come along and say that Mom and Dad have not separated OR divorced, but are trying to keep the family together, even though the children are fussing and working to fester derision. Jesus said that “God’s will can be done on earth as in heaven.” He said we are supposed “to discern the face of the sky” but also to “discern the signs of our times.” Most of Jesus’ parables have some mention of seeds, growing, plants, birds, flowers–letting us know that Mother Nature, herself, extols the style of Father Creator.

What is the weakness of atheism? It lacks a Father who is able to sustain us through the times when Mother Nature may be insufficient to our cause due to our weaknesses or misunderstanding–who gives us a Daddy who cautions us against becoming weary in well-doing in loving our fellow-humans.

What do Christians lack? Respect for Mother Nature and the scientific community, which is discovering more about the glory of creation, the Christian community therefore remaining ignorant about things that could bring prosperity, leaving many of the faithful impoverished instead of empowered.

This is why I am a follower of Jesus. All of the other religious teachers lean either towards Mother Nature or the Almighty God. Jesus alone instructed us to honor BOTH parents. How should we do that? Here are three ideas:

1. Don’t reject knowledge. New information about the earth and the universe is never to the detriment of God. It either clarifies or expands the height and depth of His power.

2. Grace does not cover stupidity. You cannot come to your Father, having insulted your Mother (earth) and think everything is going to be okay. Matter of fact, it was your Father who told you that “whatever you sow, you will reap”–a warning to respect Mother Earth instead of assuming that Daddy is going to trump her efforts.

3. Find Father in Mother and Mother in Father. God is in nature–and nature is certainly explains the realm of God. When you draw those parallels and you establish commonality between the earth and the heavens, you actually have discovered the essence of the gospel. This is precisely what Jesus taught in his analogies.

  • Yes, people who live alone, without faith, still have lives that work–because they honor Mother Nature.
  • And individuals who have faith with works are successful because they have tapped half of the potential by worshipping God.
  • But the only way to gain contentment during your journey here is to respect Mother and Father–and give due to each one at the right moments.

It is the teaching of Jesus.

And it is the way to keep from creating a custody battle, which, if you’re not careful … could leave you orphaned.

**************

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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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